Islamic feminists call for “gender jihad”

Organizers of the First International Congress on Islamic Feminism, now underway in Barcelona, are calling for a “gender jihad.” Organizer Abdennur Prado Pavon of the Catalan Islamic board says the struggle for gender equality in Islamic countries involves refuting chauvinist interpretations of Muslim teachings. Prado says the conference hopes to refute the common conception in the West is that women’s liberation is not possible in Muslim societies.

Among the delegates is the Pakistani scholar Riffat Hassan, regarded as one of the pioneers of Islamic feminist theology. Also in atttendance are representatives from the International Association for the Development of Islamic Feminism, which argues that the inferior legal and social status of women in Muslim countries is a result of misogynistic distortions of the teachings in the Koran.

Organizers say they want more collaboration with western feminists, but say non-Muslim feminists need to challenge their anti-Islamic stereotypes. (BBC, Oct. 28)

See our last post on the struggle within Islam.